Neighbours of woman found dead in London raised concerns for two years
Peabody housing association received 40 to 50 complaints as ‘horrendous smell’ emerged from flat
Neighbours of a flat in which the body of a 61-year-old woman was found dead have claimed they first raised concerns about her welfare more than two years ago.
Police officers forced entry to the property in south-east London on Friday after residents reportedly sounded the alarm over a balcony door banging open and shut as Storm Eunice battered the capital.
While the woman’s death is not being treated as suspicious, neighbours said they had contacted the housing association Peabody, which owns the property, repeatedly over the last two years over a “horrendous smell” emerging from the flat.
One resident of the block told MyLondon that neighbours had complained about the smell, which was so bad that she had had to block the gap under her door with a towel, 40 to 50 times to Peabody since 2019. She said: “My son was getting headaches – he was feeling sick. When I was pregnant I was vomiting all the time. I would ask my neighbours, ‘Can you smell that? Or is it because I am pregnant?’”
Describing the police entry on Friday, she said: “We heard them run up the stairs and then bang, bang, bang. They came in a rush. It was so frightening the way they ran in. My son said he froze and he called me to say, ‘Mum, there’s a lot of police running in the block.’ There was a really big van and a few cars.”
A spokesperson for Peabody told the Guardian: “We are saddened to learn that our resident has passed away. Our dedicated tenant and family support team carry out regular welfare checks with people who may be vulnerable.
“We did make repeated attempts to check on the resident and liaised with the police to try and make contact. We are offering support to neighbouring residents, who will understandably be upset, and our teams are there today. We are working closely with the authorities and will investigate all of the circumstances and actions taken in this case.”
A spokesperson for the Met police said: “At 19:01hrs on Friday, 18 February police were called to a flat in St Mary’s Road, Peckham. Concerns had been raised about the welfare of a woman who lived at the address.
“Officers attended and forced entry. The body of a 61-year-old woman who was deceased was found inside. The woman’s death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”